Q: Cerebral palsy attorney Jesse Reiter answers a frequently asked question: Is hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) associated with medical error during labor and delivery?
A: Yes, hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), or birth asphyxia, can occur during labor and delivery as a result of errors made by obstetricians, nurses and other medical staff. There is a risk of HIE if a complication or condition arises during labor and delivery that causes a reduction in blood flow and oxygen to the baby and it is not quickly and correctly handled.
Medical professionals are obligated under the standards of care to provide the appropriate care to ensure the safety of both the mother and the baby. When these standards are violated, it is considered negligence.
Causes of HIE
The following are events that can be the cause or result of a difficult labor and delivery, and can lead to infant HIE if not correctly treated:
- Breech birth
- Delayed emergency C-section or delayed delivery
- Delivery room errors
- Fetal – fetomaternal hemorrhage
- Forceps and vacuum extractor injuries
- Hyperstimulation from labor-inducing drugs such as Cytotec or Pitocin
- Improper fetal monitoring / fetal monitoring errors
- Placental abruption
- Placenta previa
- Post-term pregnancy
- Premature birth
- Twins or multiple babies
- Umbilical cord prolapse or cord compression
- Uterine rupture
- VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean)
Investigate the circumstances surrounding HIE
A child diagnosed with HIE may have been the victim of medical malpractice. Nurses may have not monitored the baby during labor and delivery as they should have. Or a doctor may have failed to deliver the baby fast enough during an obstetrical emergency like a placental abruption or uterine rupture. Whenever HIE or disabilities are diagnosed in a child, it’s wise to seek help from an attorney experienced in birth injury matters. The attorneys at Reiter & Walsh ABC Law Centers have been helping families affected by HIE for years. Call us for a free consultation, 888-419-2229.